Today we spoke to people waiting for local buses where they were feeling frustrated and angry as their free bus passes could be taken away.

Hampshire County Council has been holding a consultation on the plans, which could see people forced to pay fees, operational changes and cuts to back-office functions.

The authority said the proposals are being made in the light of 'continued significant pressures on local authority budgets'.

For many people, bus services provide a vital link between the city centre and surrounding areas. 

These proposed changes come at a time when bus services are being forced to reevaluate bus routes after they have come under pressure from a lack of drivers and rising operating costs.  

Alexander Ian Morgan, 78, who gets the route 69 bus, said: “Don’t get me started on the buses. On Saturday I was waiting for the 9.43am bus from Bishop's Waltham into Winchester so I could do my weekly shopping and it just never turned up, then I waited for the 10.43am that never turned up and finally a bus turned up at 11.43am – so two hours later than expected!

“I use my bus pass all the time, so I would really struggle without it, I don’t understand why we are only able to use our bus passes Monday to Friday from 9.30am but in Southampton they are able to use it from 9am during the week?”

Linda Booth, 74, takes the route 46 bus from Hilton Chandler’s Ford, said: “The service has been cut down and it is quite limiting, and we’re constantly worried they may cut back further.

“My bus route has been cut back so that it only goes to Symonds in the morning and doesn’t go to the hospital, so that means that people who can’t drive have no way of getting to Winchester hospital early in the morning for their appointments.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Linda Booth waiting at a bus stop.

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Sheila Shaw, 71, from Littleton who takes the route 7 bus, said: “I wished there was a board that said when the buses are coming in Littleton and there is also lack of evening buses- so we just sit here like pumpkins waiting for one to come along.

“If I had my bus pass taken away from me, I wouldn’t mind if the buses were replaced with taxis as long as you know when the taxis are coming in advance and there isn’t a very long wait, because the good thing about buses was that they used to come regularly.”

Margaret and Bob House, 84 and 83, said: “We would have no way of knowing if our bus was cancelled or not, it is extremely annoying when a bus just doesn’t turn up. This morning we was waiting for a Route 7 bus which was meant to arrive at 9.50am, and by 10am it never turned up, so we had to walk along to another bus stop instead to try and get a bus into Winchester from Weeke.

“We use our bus passes every single day, so we do rely heavily on it, and I wouldn’t know what we would do without one. It would be extremely difficult without one because we only use it locally but it’s how we get out and about.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Margaret and Bob House waiting for a bus today.

Julia Stride ,68, who is travelling to Stanmore, said: “I don’t want to blame the bus drivers because I don’t think it’s their fault, but I also don’t understand the new route of buses. I think Winchester is an overpopulated area and there isn’t adequate transportation available to suit this.

“I don’t drive so I have used buses my whole life, so without them I would struggle to get places!”

Hampshire Chronicle: Julia Stride waiting for her bus to arrive.

Hampshire County Council has recently held a consultation on the proposed changes, which will be discussed by councillors. 

Councillor Edward Heron, executive lead member for transport, said: “I’d like to reassure service users especially, that no decisions have been made.

"We will endeavour to minimise the impact on passengers from any changes that may be agreed at a later date however, it is essential that we find ways to do things differently and with reduced costs."

The council said it would continue to meet its statutory duties and to work in partnership with bus operators to secure a network of bus services for residents across Hampshire within the resources available.

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